Monday, May 07, 2007

Qantas: why is takeover failure a 'fiasco'?

An attempt to buyout Australia's main Airline, Qantas, didn't succeed, because only 46% of shares had been committed by the friday deadline.

The failure been labelled as 'disastrous' for rather obscure reasons. one reason given was that "the airline's board has already telegraphed its reserve price".

The takeover was engineered by Macquarie Bank, Australia's leading equity dealmaker and takeover merchant. Macquarie in recent years has been particularly aggressive in initiating takeovers and leading privatisation acquisitions (eg most of Australia's airports are now in the hands of ventures organised by them).

Their intention here was quite clear. Saddle Qantas with debt and extract a fortune in dividends in the first year.Of course, they wouldn't kill their own assets, but they would certainly not be averse to grinding them down to squeeze out an extra dollar.

From that perspective, it's not a bad thing at all that they failed. Their move had been endorsed by the Qantas board, but if the board was so keen on loading up with debt and distributing the "dividends", they shouldn't have needed Macquarie to do it for them.

Which suggests there more to the story than I have been exposed to yet.

At least Qantas employees were said to be happy with the outcome. Understandably.

No comments: